Green conferencing given the nod, as Cape Town cleans up


There seems to be something in Cape Town’s water.

That's the responsible tourism view point that has come out of Meetings Africa 2019, as the Mother City dominated the business event's Green Stand Awards.

According to South African Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona, The Meetings Africa 2019 Green Stand Awards seek to recognise exhibitors who go that extra “green” mile to build and design stands that are environmentally and socially sustainable.

The stands were judged against the Event Greening Forum (EGF) award criteria including design, materials, operations, transport, communication, beyond green and innovation.

“Exhibitors were afforded the opportunity to participate in the competition by showcasing their stand at the exhibition and submitting a written motivation explaining why their stand is green,” says Ntshona.

The assessment included demonstrating knowledge about the greening principles and practical implementation thereof. The panel of judges included professionals with event greening experience and independent moderators.

The awards were divided into three categories: small, medium and large stands.

READ: Hanekom: A third of those who visit SA for the first time at a conference, come back for a holiday

Winners of the small stand category, Resource Design, designed their stand using recycled Xanita board and printed collateral. Resource Design, based in Cape Town, is a creative solutions provider to the exhibitions, events, retail and the hospitality industry. It promotes the use of sustainable materials such as Xanita board and the use of LED lighting. 

Gary van der Watt from Resource Design says, “We have a legacy projects where most of the exhibition stands are reused to create desks at preschools. kids have got desks to sit at, which are completely not toxic, light weight, and they go back into recycling, so that there is nothing that ever goes into landfills, our logistics are much better than anything else, because we don’t have to use big trucks, we use small trucks.”

The winners of the medium-sized stand category, Cape Town International Convention Centre, embraced the principles of sustainability with a stand for its use of electronic collateral, low reliance on transport and positive social impact. Its fabric banners will be repurposed into drawstring bags and used as corporate gifts. 

Eloff from Cape Town International Convention Centre says, “We had put so much working into sustainability as a convention centre that is why to go green is very important. It is something that is very close to our heart, its actually one of our policies that we got a committee on sustainability. For us to see that this is getting appreciation from the exhibition industry, from Meetings Africa and all those involved, it shows really great gratitude from our side.”

The large stand winner of the night, Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau, won for keeping up with sustainable, creative and trendsetting principles. They were also noted for being knowledgeable about greening and its value. The modular stand materials, comprised of a mix of Xanita board, wood, and steel frames that has been used at 12 events over the last three years.

Head of the bureau, Corné Koch, says they are always looking for ways to save budget and use it sustainably. “We are not only looking to build a quality stand but a sustainable stand that can be reused. And the elements have been reused for the last three years. As as result, the group is starting to be well known for being resilient and sustainable.”

Each winner and runner-up embraced Meetings Africa’s principles of sustainability, which calls for the creation of an eco-friendly and responsible industry together. They also raise awareness and promote educational opportunities for greening principles and practices. Implementing them successfully is imperative and forward thinking. 

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